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Infrastructure as Code (IaC) should be treated the same way as any other code. That is to say that we should be considering configuration management, testing, regression, code quality, and coverage. We should be addressing these points for the same reasons we address them with our application code. Such as ensuring that we don’t introduce bugs as things evolve and develop, ensuring that the code is maintainable over a prolonged period etc.

The problem is that the only real way to test IaC is to run it. Particularly with the likes of Terraform where it is largely declarative rather than containing a lot of logic. This point is nicely conveyed by Yevgeniy Brikman’s presentation (below)

The presentation goes on to illustrate Terratest which has the look and feel of JUnit or any other xUnit test framework. Terratest is implemented in Golang, But to be honest, given the nature of Terraform ( largely declarative meaning it enables ideas of composition and not sophisticated logic) it means the writing of the tests isn’t going to demand anything clever like how to achieve polymorphic behavior through Go’s type structures.

While Yevgeniy focussed on testing by invoking an application on the infrastructure deployed something we’ve described though our Platform Test logic (more here). You may wish to test things further by interrogating infrastructure components. For example, do I have the right number of nodes in a dynamic group or are container or server logs going into the cloud monitoring services.

Performing such checks is very easy with OCI as it provides a Golang SDK making it very easy to write tests that can call the OCI APIs and interrogate the setup. Better still when considering whether the Terraform configuration will behave correctly to support dynamic/auto-scaling can be done easily without modifying the Terraform configurations as part of the Terratest logic can include Go API calls to temporarily modify scaling triggers or invoking code that can stimulate OCI dynamic features.

Testing App Configuration

There is an interesting question to be considered. There is a point of separation between when to use Terraform (or Pulumi and others for that matter) and tools better suited to application deployment and configuration like Ansible and Chef. Therefore should we separate the testing of these details? Maybe I am too purist but seeing local and remote execs in Terraform as these actions are very opaque and can be used to conceal things or unwittingly depend on the way Terraform handles its dependency graph.

Of course, Ansible has its test framework ansible_test and has the means to measure test coverage. So one possibility is to treat Ansible as a separate module, independently test it, and then integrate its use in the wider picture of deploying infrastructure.